Cockfighting is a practice that involves pitting two roosters against each other inside an arena. The birds are equipped with artificial spurs and fight to the death. This blood sport is highly controversial all over the world; in some countries, cock fights are illegal while in others, it is revered as a national sport or culturally significant.

In this article, we’ll be discussing the legality of cockfighting in the country of Mexico.


Is Cockfighting Legal in Mexico?

Cockfighting is a huge part of Mexican tradition and culture and is, therefore, allowed in the country. Also known as pelea de gallos, Mexican cockfights follow a very organized set of rules that participants must abide by if they wish not to be disqualified.

Cockfighting Laws in Mexico

Animal welfare laws exist in the country. In 1690, Mexico City issued a prohibition against cock fighting but this was repealed in 1727. However, since 2012, cockfighting has been banned in Mexico City and the states of Sonora and Coahuila. The state of Veracruz banned cockfights in 2018. 

Recently, campaigns have been launched to prohibit cockfights in the entire country, citing the blood sport as a form of animal cruelty due to the physical trauma that cocks inflict on each other. Despite campaigns, cockfight advocates list cultural relevance as a reason to continue cockfighting and therefore is allowed in the country.


Cockfighting in Mexico

Two distinct styles of weapons are used in cockfights: knife and gaff. A knife or slasher bout features a single, flat blade that varies in length and is attached to one spur of the rooster. On the other hand, gaff matches feature a thin, curved spike attach to both spurs of the cocks. 

Most cockfighting events are held in what is known as a “derby”, which is a contest involving dozens of participants that have numerous entries. Derbies are categorized by type of weapon, age of the bird, and the number of cocks per participant. The birds are also weighed and matched against equal-sized opponents. Fights are held in an arena called a palenque, or a pit, which is fenced in to protect the spectators and keep the birds from exiting. 

The crowd is mostly made up of men, however, families and young children also attend to watch fights. Wagers are often made on the outcome of the match. While not all fights end in death, the cocks may endure significant physical trauma, including broken legs, wings, and intense cuts resulting in an eventual loss of blood. 

Cultural and Religious Relevance

Cock fighting is a part of the culture, transmitted from generation to generation in the Mexican community. In Mexican culture, the rooster is related to values such as bravery, gallantry, dedication, respect, honor, responsibility, and loyalty, all of which are linked to Mexican ideals. 

A rooster fight also represents a cathartic phenomenon that is a part of a broader civilizing process. It also represents emotions, feelings, and aspects of the human condition that are hard to find release under other conditions or forms. Cock fighting is also a dramatization of the status level of the contenders since superficially, a cockfight is the confrontation of two animals. The men symbolically compete for social prestige, seen in the systems of bets made around the fight. 

Many Mexican cockfighters have religious icons painted on the carrying boxes of their gamefowls. The Christian cross and Our Lady of Guadalupe are the very popular and the most common ones painted on the carrying boxes.


Bottom Line

Cockfighting remains legal and is regulated by the government throughout Mexico. Despite being allowed nationwide, some Mexican states have banned cockfights since 2012.

Interested in knowing which few countries in Europe allow cock fights? Check out this article


Frequently Asked Questions:

Who’s winning derbies in Mexican cockfighting?

In derbies, there are typically parties, or partidos, that make up a group of people who take roosters to the fight. The partidos with the most points will win the prize money and will be distributed equally.